Mark Schofield’s NFL Lens: Drew Brees and “Getting it Done”

RSP contributor Mark Schofield showcases how Drew Brees relied on traits of his game not often associated with him to beat the Baltimore Ravens pressure. 

No, this is not a “Larry the Cable Guy” bit.

This is, however, an analysis of a quarterback perhaps stepping outside his comfort zone to “get it done.” One of the more fascinating tactical matchups in Week 7 was the meeting between the Baltimore Ravens’ defense and the New Orleans Saints’ offense. The Ravens’ defense was coming off a week where they set a franchise record with 11 sacks, and they seem to be rounding into form yet again. However, they were facing a quarterback who entering Week 7 was one of the quickest at getting the ball out of his hands. Prior to Week 7, Brees was getting the ball out in just 2.52 seconds, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, and only Sam Bradford (2.51) was faster.

Something had to give.

In New Orleans’ 24-23 victory, Brees was stellar against the blitz, completing 11 of 17 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown when Baltimore brought five or more rushers. But it was not because of his quick release. Instead, Brees relied on play-strength and athleticism, traits he is not often associated with, to beat the pressure:

Scheme analysis should play a role in any evaluation process. Entering this contest it was going to be fascinating to see how these aspects of the matchup played out. Instead, we saw something a bit unexpected: A veteran quarterback perhaps stepping outside of his comfort zone, to “get it done.”

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